Location: Singapore City, Singapore
Back to civilisation and a little luxury (well a lot actually) after a fantastic week in the jungle. Borneo was everything and more, that we expected. We saw some wonderful animals, met lovely people, both local and visitors and had some brilliant and sometimes quite scarey experiences, but all of them unforgettable.
The ourang utan were beautiful, and so human it was uncomfortable to watch at times, but very mischievous and generally gentle, but could be aggressive for a short time. We have seen snakes, every kind of monkey there, a leopard cat, monitor lizards and an absolutely huge herd of pygmy elephant that hadn't been seen for ages and have now disappeared again. There were about 80 of them all very small and sweet. There were lots of colourful tropical birds and one enormous crocodile that nearly did quite a lot of damage to us and our canoe when we got stuck in the mud. We've seen beautiful sunrises and sunsets on the river and the jungle was mysterious and very dense, with loads of leeches, which were very friendly. Creepy crawlies of all description and sizes, flying, crawling and wriggling. Our accommodation has been basic but clean, just as we expected, but the staff have always been fantastic (and sometimes a little mad). Our two guides in the jungle were brilliant with eyesight of hawks and never missed a thing even in absolutely darkness with just a little torch they picked out every little black animal you could think of.
We are now back in Singapore for our last two nights in the only really expensive hotel of the trip and it is FANTASTIC. Two more days here then back home.
Tomorrow will be our last entry till we're back in Spain, so tomorrow we're going to do our best to explore Singapore in a day (we're learning from the yanks).
Location: Sepilok, Borneo, Malaysia
We're still not able to download any photos as no facilities here. We have had two visits to the orang utan centre, and seen quite a few beautiful and very playful animals, from a big male to a small baby. They are extremely human in the mannerisms, but far nicer, being very polite and patient when being fed.
Today we returned from a two day trip to see the green turtles, nesting. Stayed overnight on a tiny little island 9 miles off the coast. Brilliant. Saw two mothers, one in the process of laying 101 eggs, very dark as it was late at night and no lights are allowed, other than the rangers torch, and one female making her way up the beach in broad daylight, some confused lady, as it was only about 5p.m., we watched her making her nest ready to lay but were not allowed too close and she slowly disappeared into the hole. We also found two baby turtles, lost and wandering so put them back in the sea, one of each species on the island, they probably made a nice breakfast for something but you have to try.
For once we were not the only wrinklies on tour and the tables were turned as we were all of a similar age and one young couple.
Looking forward to tomorrow, and our last big adventure, three days in a canoe up the river into the jungle. We've been told that there is a good chance of spotting pygmy elephants, but that will be a bonus, but we are hoping to spot normal sized ones at least, along with proboscis monkeys, which apparently pose for the cameras very well instead of scurrying off, crocs and HUGE monitor lizards, and H's favourite, snakes.
Location: Sepilok, Sandakan, Malaysia
We've just had two glorious days in Singapore, lovely place but what a price, all drinks are prohibitive, so it's been a very dry time, except for a couple of beers, which are $9 a half pint.
It's a beautiful clean city but all but a few small building remain of the original Singapore, and it is very much like many other cities other than the cleanliness and quite a lot of greenery. We landed to manicured lawns in the airport along the runways and what has been voted the best duty free in the world, didn't spend a thing.
Arrived in Borneo this afternoon, which to say the least is different, there was actually a tractor ploughing alongside the runway here. The resort where we are staying, at first glance is idyllic, we haven't had a chance to look around yet but will explore tomorrow, after we've seen the ORANG OUTANS. A little jungle trek in the afternoon then three days up the river for a little bit more adventure.
Hopefully we'll get back in one piece having seen lots of wildlife.
Will update our photos when we get back to Singapore. See you all soon - Boo Hoo! We may update again tomorrow if there's anything worth talking about!!
Location: Pattaya/Bangkok, Thailand
We have just returned to Bangkok from 3 days at the beach in Pattaya, we have to say that our hotel was fantastic, our first bit of luxury, but Pattaya held no charm whatsoever. We had a great 2.5 days and had a complete rest, which we needed, but it was great to be back in Bangkok tonight. Out time in Bangkok has been magic, so far it is our favourite place, and the hotel we have been in, The Davis, although a fairly budget price has been fantastic, check out the pics. We are off to Singapore in the morning which H. has assured me will be just as fantastic. I have told him he won't be able to smoke in the street but even this has not put him off. We will both be sorry to leave Bangkok and if at all possible we will come back, but not to Pattaya. It was really nothing more than a glorified Benidorm, full of German blokes looking for young Thai girls. Never seen so many single men in my life, like packs of prowling dogs, and they all were over 50, over weight and sleazey, yug!!
Looking forward to Singapore and especially Borneo, the only thing is it's coming to an end, boo hoo!
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
This is our last evening in Bangkok before going to Pattaya for the weekend. We have thoroughly enjoyed the experience, Bangkok is such a contrast of beauty and poverty. We've seen some of the most beautiful buildings and parks imaginable and some really rundown areas. It's not for everyone but we have loved every minute of it. We've seen temples, palaces, parks, and last night we went to a night bazaar, which we thought would be a bit sleazy (hopefully), however it was absolutely charming. There were over 3,000 shops selling everything you could imagine. We had a fantastic Thai meal for the great sum of $15, which included our drinks. To-day we have been to probably two of the nicest and most gentle places, the first was to the home of Jim Thompson, who almost single handedly regenerated the Thai silk industry and secondly we went to the Teak Mansion of the Thai Kings, which was beautiful. Our memories of Bangkok will be beautiful people, the cleanest cars you have ever seen in your life, and there are millions of them, tranquillity and chaos, and lovely food (drinks are expensive, everywhere has to have a downside). The temples have been so moving and memorable, Buddahs plentiful and huge in both size and impact, and more than anything the people have been beautiful. We would love to come back, and wish we could have spent longer here.
Tomorrow we are off to the coast for 3 days for some beach therapy and reflection on the last week. Hopefully having had such a packed few days we will not be bored but we feel in need of a rest at the moment. Just going down for a last dinner in or hotel, we have eaten here once before, which was fantastic and hopefully tonight will be the same.
Location: Bangok, Thailand
We have had a the most beautiful, totally cultural day, and have seen more temples than the rest of my life put together. We started at the Wat Phra Keao and Royal Palace, we knew it was going to be something special but nothing could have prepared us for its actual beauty, to say it is breathtaking would be an understatement. No photographs could do it justice, although we did try, it was so awe-inspiring we didn't realise for a very longtime that we were absolutely soaking in perspiration and grime due to the humidity and fumes in Bangkok. There are slums intermingled with the most beautiful temples, and little local kiosks and sidewalk shops mixed in with modern high rise shopping malls. After we had seen the Royal Palace we had 2 hrs. before we could see the Reclining Buddah as there was a buddhist ceremony on, so we took a tuktuk to see some of the other buddahs around Bangkok, which included the standing buddah, the sitting buddah and every other position you could imagine, all more beautiful than the previous one. When we finally saw the reclining buddah it is unbelieveable, it is so enormous, about 100ft. long that it is impossible to photograph the whole length without it looking foreshortened. We are now totally shattered and couldn't wait to get back for a shower, and vodka and tonic to relax and reflect on an absolutely wonderful day. I just wish my legs would work, they seem to have seized up completely, god it's awful getting old!
Location: Bagkok, Thailand
Arrived in Bangkok early hours of this morning from Perth, had a few hours sleep and went out to explore. We had a ride on one ofthe river taxis and got off by the Royal Palace, which was closed on Monday, however, through a stroke of luck we got talking with a guide from the palace who told us that the Royal Temple was open, for its one and only day of the year, and not always once a year so went there instead. What a beautiful building, but sods law my battery went flat on the camera after only two photos. Still, we had a guided tour by the BIG manager, who kept telling us he was a millionaire, and judging by his jewellery he wasn't far wrong. The guide had also told us about another place only open today which was the Royal Factory where they make all the jewellery, and we did manage to buy a little rock, just a small red one. The reason these places are only open today is that it is the Kings 80th birthday and the 60th anniversary of his ascencion to the throne. Looking forward to the rest of the week as what we've seen today of Bangkok it is an amazing city. Loads to do and see and contrasts between poor and rich, and different cultures has to be seen to be believed. Hopefully my camera won't pack up again.
Had a great time in Fremantle\Perth area, Chris ran us everywhere, determined we shouldn't miss anything, met lots of her friends. We particularly liked Rottnest island and could have spent some time there. They have dear little things called quokkas which are like a mini kangaroo come deer. Saw a bit of the ozzie bush which was exactly as you picture it and on the other hand total opulence in a place called Mandurah, wall to wall money.
Will update photos tomorrow. You never know we might get to meet the king tomorrow, so we've been told.
Location: Perth, Australia
We arrived in Perth at 2.30a.m. Sunday morning and our feet haven't touched the ground yet. Christine is determined we shall see everything there is to see in Perth and there is plenty of it to see. It's a lovely, lovely city, very green, lots of parks and recreation areas and the Swan River that goes through Fremantle has lots of lovely beaches all along the shore. We're off to Rottnest Island tomorrow for the day, and it's got some dear little animals on it called quokkas, like big guinea pigs but prettier, then off into the bush to Chris' cottage in the middle of nowhere. Have seen kangaroos, dolphins, parrots and may be lucky to see koalas on Saturday, and we've been promised some snakes and iguanas as well. Christine's friends have organised b.b.q.s etc. for us over the next few days so we will get a chance to meet some of the neighbours,
We haven't been able to update site since we arrived here, a. because we haven't had a spare minute and b. Christine doesn't have internet access and there's not many cafes in Fremantle. As we have an hour free before we meet Chris we're just putting a small diary entry and will update fully when we get to Bangkok. We've decided to knock Hong Kong on the head and go straight to Thailand on Sunday. We've done enough cities now and everyone says we wouldn't enjoy it much anyway, and four days there was far too long. So see you next in Thailand.
Location: Cairns, Australia
Today dawned, hot sunny and clear blue skies, the first one we have seen, which is just as well as it is our BIG DAY.
It started with a great feeling of looking forward to a good time, which changed to eager anticipation, which became "what the hell are we up to" and finally going through the door of the plane to sheer terror, which lasted about .5 sec. The rest was unbelievable, words could not possibly express the feeling of exhileration and wonder, mixed with a little "oh shit". We're putting some pics. on but the dvd should be classified X rated as it is not the most flattering thing ever done. You don't realise how much loose flesh you have on your face. We asked how many wrinklies they jumped with an they had to admit it wasn't many as mostly backpackers go from there and from the dvd intro they are all gorgeous girls about 18. We jumped with two of these one looked terrified (a scot) and one from Chelmsford who was like a two year old at Christmas. It will take a lot to better today, not only the jump but the location was fantastic, apparently it is the only place in the world where you can land on a beach with rain forests coming down to the sea. The dvd and pics. do not really show the beauty of the area. Going on to Perth tomorrow evening to stay with Chris for a week of relaxation and family.
I wouldn't say it makes it more perfect, but, as we are writing this the rain has started once more, and it looks like a storm, but, who cares, we've had our fun, done what we came for and Perth has got to be sunny- or so everybody says.
Location: Cairns, Australasia
The best laid plans of mice and men are oft to go arry. In the last entry I mentioned getting wet, on the evening I started a tickly cough and by the following morning was absolutely poleaxed and had to spend the day in bed, it was the worst cold I've had for years, and to make matters worse the sun came out, so our trip to the Blue Mountains was off. Wednesday felt a bit better and surfaced about lunchtime. We had booked a dinner cruise around the harbour, which was good but I had no appetite so couldn't appreciate the food, which looked gorgeous. Sydney Harbour by night was really impressive, we thought we might be the only non Russians for a while as everybody on the quay was Russian, but thankfully we were sat by an American and an Australian couple. Left Sydney on Thursday, St. David's Day, still feeling groggy, and spent most of the day sleeping on an off. BUT TODAY, it's warm, it's sunny, it's gorgeous and I'm better. Cairns is lovely, so much more our type of place, its' tropical sounds and smells are lovely. As we don't have much time here we spent the morning on a reef trip and this afternoon took the cable car for 7.5 ks to Kuranda over the canopy of the rain forest, brilliant. We've had a little worry over the weather as there has been a cyclone promised for tomorrow, but that seems to have dissipated so tomorrow is the big day. If this is the last message you read you'll know it all went pear shaped.
Location: Sydney, Australia
Couldn't do 24th as we missed it. We left San Francisco on the night of 23rd and arrived Sydney 14 hours later on Sunday morning, 25th. and that is a bit of a blur as we were totally knacked and didn't do much. However, today feeling much better and ready to do the city, in warm rain this time. We will see the sun before we get home.
Sydney is everything we ever thought it would be, but extremely expensive $3 for a small packet of crisps is a bit ridiculous. Have spent the day around the harbour and the botanical gardens, up the Sydney Tower and generally wandering and getting wet. It's a beautiful city but would need an awfully long time to see it all and we only have four days. We need a break from city life so are going on a train journey tomorrow to the Blue Mountains where we hope to get some photos that don't include concrete.
Location: San Francisco, USA
This is our last day in San Francisco, have spent the morning on Alta Plaza which is a really ritzy part of the city. Touristy bit again, went to see the house where Mrs. Doubtfire was filmed, and just generally walked around being very envious. Once again frozen our socks off, but hopefully this is the last day like this. Had lunch down in the Market Place on the quay, gorgeous Japanese sushi. REALLY looking forward to flight tonight.
San Francisco has been fantastic, far better than we imagined, would love to come back in September, when we have been assured the weather is great. Apparently the summer can be as cold as it is now, not a nice thought, with the fog being a major hazard. The public transport is fantastic, especially if you happen to be a wrinkly, 50 cents a ticket to go anywhere for 3 hours +, on buses, trams but not cable cars.
Woke up to torrential rain and low temperatures. Couldn't face tramping around city streets in that so decided to take a trip out over the Golden Gate bridge into Sausalito and the Muir Woods. Luckily by the time we got there it had stopped raining and we could appreciate the redwoods in all their glory. Though not as tall or wide as those further north they were pretty impressive, and it was nice to get into the country for a while. Muir Woods looks totally natural but was infact manmade in the 19th century by guess who, a Mr. Muir.
We had the most ghastly meal in the best recommended Chinese restaurant in San Francisco, you would think by now that we would have learned not to take recommendation from either books or people. It's our last day here to-day and although we've had a great time we both are looking forward to Aus.
The one downside of that is we leave here at 10.30 tonight, travel for 14 hours and arrive at 8o'clock Sunday morning. At our age we can't afford to lose a day, they're too important.
Click on any of the headings above to see some photos.
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Response: Well funny you should mention greenie, because on our last day we found the most brilliant green bug and I said to H. shall we take it home for Gabrielle, but he didn't think it would survive the screening.
On the 4th we should be with you about 12 o'clock all being well as we are only coming from Heathfield. Got a long day tomorrow, out of hotel by 12 and not flying till midnight then 14 hour flight - oh joy, home at 5.30 in the morning.
Can't wait to see you both, F. & H. XXXX
Response: Hi everyone, well that's it all over, in Singapore for one more night then home. We want to go in our footsteps again as well. Will have to wait quite a while before doing it again. Hopefully we can see you when we visit mum and dad on the 4th. Gabrielle would have loved the jungle, full of great greenies and other bugs, very tempted to bring her one home, but thought you might not like a leech. George would have loved the snakes (H. didn't) and the croc. would have impressed anyone. We've had a fantastic holiday and met some lovely people along the way, we are not looking forward to normal life one bit, but all good things come to an end. Love Frances and Harvey.
Response: Promise we'll come back to say goodbye if we have won. We've run out of clothes so have to have a few days at home just to do some washing (I'll leave the ironing for you). Been shopping to-day, and had a brilliant bargain on a new digital slr camera with extra lens, etc., prepare your best side because this shows every little blemish and wrinkle. See you soon. H. & F. Speak to you from U.K. XXXX
Response: Sorry to hear about Philip, but as you say at 91 it can't be called a tragedy. H's mum is also 91 and although can't be said to be going strong is still here, her birthday is Saturday.
Don't like to disappoint you but these oldies could go on for a little while longer, will be sorry to finish our trip, our bed can wait. See you on the 3rd.H & F. XXX
Response: l/t is in Singapore, we are leaving this afternoon, 29th, didn't bring laptop as no connection here, we are in the jungle after all. Will contact you from Singapore, where I think there may possible be wifi. Hope you all behaved yourselves and didn't get drunk, we are dying for a nice bottle of wine, or any bottle of wine come to that. Even H. is fed up with beer. Will update planetranger for last time tonight, you would have hated it here, we loved it, (bugs and leeches as well) . Arrive in U.K. Sunday 5.30 a.m. and going straight to Wales will see Denis and Celia that night, staying with them for 2 nights, so if we don't speak to you before will then.
Love H. & F. XXXX
Response: We were hoping to stay with you for the night of the 3rd April and then in a hotel at Gatwick on the 4th as we have to be up at 5.30 to catch our plane. We hope to be there about mid day as it will be a case of driving up from Wales and then on the day of the 4th we're going to see Jan and Mike in Kent for lunch. It is a bit of keeping the best till last, had great day to-day loads of orang outangs, been twice into the reserve today. Going for an overnight trip tomorrow to watch the turtles laying their eggs and then three days up the river into the jungle and back to civilisation in Singapore on Thursday night. Looking forward to seeing you all and boring the socks off you.
Love H. & F.
Response: Lovely to hear from you, it's taken you a long time to find us. We'll be with you in the afternoon of the 1st as we're going to Swansea first to see everyone there and then up to you. We're having a fantastic time, but unfortunately on the last leg now, only about 10 days left. Love from H & F. XXXXX
Response: We're doing our best, WOODS it's thick dense proper JUNGLE with snakes and things, well hopefully. Only just arrived so looking forward to tomorrow. Love H. & F. XXXX
Response: Hi all, just keeping up a family tradition, Started by you son, We are having a great time in Thailand, bangkok is a very cultural city with lots to do and fantastic shopping malls. we are now in Pattaya having a bit of rest before starting the last leg of our hols down to Singapore & Borneo tomorrow, which we are looking forward to. We haven't seen much of Pattaya, we've just stayed around the hotel resort, as there's everything we need here, and the immediate area is a bit run down and just full of single German guys looking for local girls? We walked out yesterday but not very far, as it's just bars. though a little further away towards the city is supposed to be very nice. Speak to you from Singapore love to everybody. dad & Frances XXXX
Response: Hi guys, what a good result, yes Denise you got the score right.(sorry about that Clive) Martin woke us at 3am with the result, he must have been in Cardiff for the match and probably ratted. Hope you all had a good mothers day and supped plenty of Cava. Drink is the one thing that's really expensive out here, a very small glass of wine is $12 a go. needless to say we are not having any, just beers. You'd better make a regular reservation at "Lounge 29" for sunday mornings. We are just hanging around today waiting for Mr Chai to collect us at 4pm to take us back to Bangkok, so it's lounging around the pool till then, off to Singapore in the morning which we are looking forward to, then Borneo on Thursday which will be our last big event. we'll update photo's from Singapore the service here is very slow it takes all day just to upload 1 pic. We spoke to my Mum yesterday to wish her happy Mothers day and she sounded quite good. Love to all H & F xx
Response: Great to hear from you both, can't go to many more countries as are weighed down with fridge magnets. How's lew's mum enjoying herself. We're in Pattaya for the weekend having some r & r. Bangkok was fab and now looking forward to Singapore and finally Borneo. Hope my batteries don't go flat at a vital moment, the story of my life. Love to you all, H & F. XXX
Response: All part of life's rich pattern. Unfortunately we have to say it was a Marlborough. Not finished yet, off to the beach tomorrow as we are in need of some R & R. Won't be in communication until Monday night or Tuesday in Singapore. Is your intravenous happy stuff working, we hope so!
Love to you both. XXXXXXX
Response: That was H's spending money for the whole of Thailand so unfortunately I'm the only one with anything to show for our trip. Had a great silk suit hand made and delivered to our hotel this evening, ready for Douglas and Juanitas bash. Unfortunately it doesn't show much flesh so Douglas will be disappointed. Off for weekend chill out (a la Rob) in Pattaya, we need the rest, it's hard working work enjoying yourself -too much culture for old brains. Love us XXXXXXXX
Response: Will let you know date in a couple of days. We are working so hard to make your life more pleasureable. Harvey can't wait to have a good argument with you (P) as we've been getting on so well it's sickening. Really looking forward to seeing little F. Off to Pattaya in the morning for some beach therapy speak to everyone either on Monday or Tuesday from Singapore. Love from us XXXX
Response: We have two weeks left, and have bought a good book from which we're downloading everything!! Seriously, we are having a ball, suffering from culture overload at the moment and going to coast for three days to chill out and maybe even a Thai massage, if he's lucky. Thanks for keeping up with our travels, hope you're enjoying it a fraction of what we is, (as del boy would say) Love from H & F
Response: Monks' can get away with anything, well almost anything. You've always got to go one better haven't you! We wanted to see one smoking, one with a camera and one with mobile phone, which we have now done, thought they were not supposed to have any material possessions? Tempis fugit! Love H & F XXX
Response: We've had a day of shopping therapy today, they are fantastic, we went to two shopping malls, in one you could even buy a Bentley, Ferrari, Masserati, Porsche, or even a Mini Cooper on the 5th floor. Couldn't work out how they got them up there. Jewellery is cheap compared to Europe and mega stones. Fran had a new ruby ring .7 carat and very nice stone $300. very nice. I had a $50 fine and was arrested for smoking on the street, even though there were no notice to say you couldn't smoke in that area. It was either that or they were going to put us straight on the plane. Scarey for a minute or two, Just had to put the money in a wallet and go? No option. Otherwise a great place, my own fault.
Response: No not yet, going shopping tomorrow, had a cultural day today around the royal palace, am now in cultural overdose. Getting expert on thetuktuks, bartering is my second nature. Well done on the job (sorry that sounds wrong). Absolutely knackered tonight, must have walked about 10ks. today and all in the most beautifully fumey atmosphere you can imagine.
Speak to you soon, H & F. XX
Response: Well, he was swiss. Had a great day today, but totally shatterred now, didn't manage to see the king butthe royal palace was awesome. Had a great culture day, down to some basic shopping tomorrow. Love to you all, H. & F> XX
Response: Hi Ffion, We haven't decided yet but it will be a hard task to beat this one. We hope that your all ok. we are in perth airport waiting for our flight to Thailand. were we are going to chill out for 9 days. We had a wonderful time with Christine and we've seen all of Perth area. it's really lovely over here. we'' speak with you in the week when we get to Bangkok. Bye for now love Nanna & Grandad XXXX
Response: Glad to hear you're back to normal. Having a great time with Chris, Fremantle is beautiful, wait till you see the photos of the houses, you won't believe it. We could have taken thousands of them but have curtailed it to just one or two. Chris sends her love to you both, dotty as ever. We're off to Thailand tomorrow, can't remember if we said we were skipping Hong Kong. Will spend more time there on the site as just using internet cafes here. Glad you like the painting, love to everyone at home and see you soon.XXXXX adds pics in Thailand
Response: My legs didn't come back to life for at least an hour, but it was the most exciting thing I've ever done. H. was far more blase than me. We would like to stay for a night when we come back if that is O.K., don't know the exact date yet but we'll let you know. It would also be lovely to see Phil and Mike and baby at the same time if it would be possible for them to come. We're going to Thailand tomorrow, having given Hong Kong the elbow, so will be updating site from there. Keep watching, love us XXXX
Response: We've heard the weather in spain isn't much better, has been fantastic here but yesterday we got the tail end of a cyclone from further up the coast and it was extremely rough, has cooled down a lot but still about 30. Having a great time, and will write again from Thailand. Chris sends her love to you all, especially Mum. XXXXX
Response: It will shrink now you're being honest. In Perth with H's cousin for a week. Great place, really lovely very green and loadsa lovely scenery and houses. Haven't much time for updating site and also Chris. doesn't have internet access so will do a proper job next week. Have cut out HK and are going straight to Bangkok on Sunday. Love usXXX
Response: We had so much fun you would not believe it. The beach we landed on was Mission Beach, which was 2hrs from Cairns, south. Wait till you see the dvd. Miss you all too. Love Nana and Grandad.XXXXX